Metro Cities Opening Debate for Food Trucks

Updated: 03/04/2014 5:27 PM By: Megan Stewart

The Motley Crews Heavy Metal Grill food truck.
The Motley Crews Heavy Metal Grill food truck.
Photo: Photo: Facebook/Motley Crews Heavy Metal Grill

Food trucks are increasing in popularity throughout the Twin Cities and more metro cities are considering the concept.

Edina recently held an online discussion forum on its citywide ban. Residents in the forum have said they like having different options for food.

Lakeville is also looking at food trucks as an option to feed the visitors at its Antler's Park. The city has not had a concession stand or food option at the site for decades, except for charcoal grills.

A food truck could provide food options at the park without the city needing to reopen a concession stand, complete with renovations, inspections and hiring. Requests for proposals are available this week.

But Eden Prairie is taking the food truck concept to a different level by proposing a city-operated food truck that offers residents healthy meal and snack options. The Eden Prairie Mayor’s Health and Wellness Committee says it will use the truck to encourage healthy eating in the city. The city is currently seeking funding for the truck.

It would act as a rolling concession stand that would visit community parks, like Round Lake and Riley Lake, the committee said. It would also make stops at summer playground camps and outdoor concerts. Residents can weigh in on where it should be here.

Marty Richie, co-founder of the Minnesota Food Truck Association, says he quit his day job at the Pioneer Press last year to operate his Motley Crews Heavy Metal grill food truck full time. He says corporate campuses and office-heavy areas are the prime spot because its easy for people to walk outside and grab a bite without having to take a long lunch or wait around for food.

A quick trip to Nicolette Mall in Minneapolis in the summer shows a variety of the mobile sustenance options. Richie likens the situation to the Hunger Games and says he rarely operates in that location.

Cities like Burnsville have taken steps to prevent the trucks creating too much activity on city streets. Richie helped draft the city's ordinance last year.

"Cities like Edina, Lakeville and Burnsville are embracing the trucks," Richie says. "But they aren't opening the floodgates."